Can I Bring My Dog? Tips for Successful Sessions with Dogs

This is a popular question, and I find myself emailing with clients a lot about it, so here are my thoughts! Anyway, my answer is always yes; dogs are a big part of your family so I 100% understand why you'd want to have your dog included in the family photos. Over the years I've picked up some good tips for having your dog at your session, so read on!


If you're having your session on location, the number one thing to consider is whether the location is dog friendly. Not all places allow dogs on their property, and it's important to check this prior to choosing a location, or your session will be over before it's even started. My location list has both dog friendly locations and non dog friendly locations, so be sure to ask which are dog friendly if you know you want your dog at the session.

Couple petting their dog; South Shore MA Photographer; MA Photographer; Photos with Dogs; Family photos with dogs

Another thing to consider is whether the location is apt to be busy (with people and wildlife) and whether your dog will be very distracted. Every dog is different, and if you think your dog will spend a lot of time trying to visit with other people and dogs or barking at and chasing squirrels, you may want to pick a location that is fairly quiet, or we will spend a good amount of time trying to reel your pup back in instead of taking photos!

Expecting couple with their dog; South Shore MA Maternity Photographer; Maternity Photos with Dogs; Maternity session; Fall Maternity Photos

Bring some things with you. Treats! They can help keep your dog where we want them for the photo, or they can help me get the dog to look by holding a treat for the dog while I snap away. Water, especially if we'll be doing a lot of walking in the heat, and bags for your dog's waste are also a good idea. You may also consider bringing a leash that coordinates with your outfits or is more photo friendly than a retractable, very bright or reflective leash. I won't photoshop leashes out because they're typically wrapped around hands and legs and it becomes incredibly time consuming and sometimes impossible to realistically edit them out of every single image, so be sure you're cool with how they'll look in the photos. Lastly, if you have the option, it can help to bring an extra person to your session to hold the dog until it's time for them to be in the photos. There isn't always the option to tie them to a nearby bench or tree while we get a few photos without the dog, and even if there is, I've found that some dogs hate that and will just bark until you come get them, so that extra set of hands can make the session much easier! I've had several people do this and it's worked wonderfully.

Basically, just know your dog and act accordingly. Dogs can make really really sweet additions to your photos and if you want them there, I will work with you to make it go as seamlessly as possible!

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